Ever since Jaylen Brown’s first outing against LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers back in November, his star has been rising steadily. Though the verdict on his performance was measured, people in the know are looking forward to Brown’s future as one of the stars of the Boston Celtics. It’s one of the most thrilling moments for the fans; when an emerging player becomes a household name and starts to square up to the established players of his or her day. Jaylen Brown isn’t the first rising star for the Celtics, and he won’t be the last. His skills and talent will allow the team to move forward with their game-plays, and could even redefine their reputation.

So what makes a rising star, and what keeps him or her at the top of the sport? The answer here is potential, and luck, at least at the beginning. To start with, we know the uncertainties of the NBA draft, and the excitement of the unexpected success of players like Manu Ginobili. Jaylen Brown is already achieving by finding his way to the right team at the right time; which brings us to our second important point. The team as a whole wins games, as much as the virtuoso plays of guys like Kevin Durant, or LeBron. As soon as you know how a star player interacts with the game situation, it can be fun to try and predict just how that player will affect the team’s future wins. According to one study, the success of a team depends on specific factors like how the free-throws turn out. Question is, who takes them? …

For all the rising stars whose careers redefined the Celtics’ reputation, Bill Russell is the undoubted king. The question of whether or not he redefined their play, however, is worth discussion. This analysis suggests that Russell’s game was “as much analytical and mental as it was physical”. He had his ups and downs, and wasn’t always as in-demand as he perhaps should have been. It could be that management felt they needed muscle and speed on the team, rather than thoughtful defence. There’s no doubt that his rivalry with Wilt Chamberlain upped the psychological aspect, as they met in game after game throughout the 1960’s. There must have been a time, perhaps during that eight-year winning streak, that Russell’s defensive play clicked into place with the rest of his teammates.

There are so many players who never won a championship, but did make significant contributions to the Celtic’s success over the years. Notably, Ed Macauley, who was replaced with Bill Russell in the late 50’s, inadvertently starting the Celtic’s legendary winning streak. Both Demetrius Jackson and Terry Rozier were first picks from the 2015 and 2016 drafts, and have provided a solid support system for their flashier teammates.

Plenty of great players have been kept from Championship wins by Celtic hotshots. Lakers player Elgin Baylor got his team all the way to the finals eight times, and never led them to victory. The outside talent was too much. His stats are exemplary, especially in 1963, when he was in the top ten players in all major measures. Baylor was once a rising star, like the others.
There’s a lot of expectation on Jaylen Brown’s shoulders, and on the shoulders of his 2016 draft teammates. Who can tell how far an exciting new player will go, or how far he’ll bring his team.

Staff 1/03/2017 08:15:00 AM Edit
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